Bringing F1 back to the edge: Your 5 changes

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    I think its fair to say a lot of fans can sympathise with some of the reasons for Webbers retirement, F1 (in my view) has taken a step away from the edge, its got softer. Now this is a balancing act, allow the teams a free reign to let the drivers push to the max at every lap v’s a series of compromises drivers have to manage. In the old days of course drivers had to manage the unexpected, gearboxes failing, breaks giving up, intermittent power. Of course these things still happen but generally speaking the compromises have been artificially replaced with high deg tires, DRS zones, engine limits and next season a reduction in fuel.

    As a long time fan this really concerns me, I love F1 for the spectacle so I understand why things like DRS and rubber shedding tires were introduced. However this is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport, better, faster, more!

    So here is the dream scenario, you get to define the shape of F1 for next season, what five changes would you introduce and why?

    I agree with the smaller engine route, F1 is supposed to have its roots in the real world otherwise we would watch drag racing. Here are my five, but please remember these are my rumblings on a Monday morning rather than a well thought out strategic plan for F1!

    1. Tires

    I would ditch the high deg tires and favour a harder compound, this is supposed to be an age of austerity and I find the piles of rubber at the side of the road pretty ridiculous to be honest. Drivers have always had to monitor tires but right now its too much, the lowlight of this season was watching Lewis (who was on a brilliant stint) being told to back off the guy in front, I want Lewis trying to nail the guy in front! I like the idea of these high wear Michelins they are using in sports car and Formula-E.

    2. Refuelling

    I would keep DRS and I would reintroduce refuelling, light cars with reduced downforce, KERS AND turbo? Yes please. The only change I would make to the last time we had this is to have a refuelling window. A period of time within the race the teams can refuel, this would get rid of the splash and dash, but also open up the idea of cars starting with full tanks and not bothering to refuel. It should be up to the teams and it adds uncertainty.

    3. In season testing

    My next change would be to bring back in season testing, yes its expensive, but you don’t get into F1 because your frugally minded. I love technology and the reality is things change really quickly, the current set up isn’t allowing the engineers to adapt their cars quick enough to respond. Look at the tire change this year, we had an odd (and unprecedented I grant you) scenario that the baseline on which the cars was built changed but the teams only had free practices to experiment.

    4. A better distribution of the wealth

    Yes F1 is a company I get that, but the teams are the sport. There are a billion reasons why this needs addressing and immediately.

    5. Qualifying points

    My harder compound tire will hopefully stop the sham of banker laps or teams not participating. However lets spice Saturday up, points for qualifying. I think the current three phase format works well but I am envious of the lower formulas (and Indy) that really make a weekend of these events. Lets add additional pressure and excitement to Saturday, plus its a great way to get the lower teams into points.

    Wow, that was a longer post than I was expecting but over to you!



    1. Tyres – Harder Bridgestone-esque tyres that aren’t made to degrade, and can handle “traffic”. Ditch the top 10 start on qualifying tyres rule. Ditch the use two compound rule. Bring all tyres types (hard, medium, soft, super-soft) to events for greater strategy variation. Maybe wider/larger tyres to promote mechanical grip, and increase drag?
    2. DRS – Get it out, it’s no good.
    3. Downforce – Narrower front wings- reduces downforce, and slightly reduces chance of wings causing punctures. Make rear wings shorter in height. Introduce limited ground effects. Possibly reduce downforce in other ways.
    4. Better distribution of wealth – to help the smaller teams, and hopefully attract a 12th/13th team.
    5. In season testing – would also help youngsters, so we are more likely to see the next Hamilton-esque rookie.


    Keith Collantine

    I just don’t understand the rose-tinted specs about refuelling. It only served to make racing worse, it contributed nothing positive.

    Thankfully there’s no chance whatsoever of it coming back.


    Just some quick, not really thought through ideas.

    Tyres – Keep the Pirelli factor as it is, but open up tyre strategy by allowing teams to run any of the four compounds during the race and getting rid of the ‘must use two compounds during a race’ rule.

    Stewarding – With a new season next year, introduce a permanent panel of stewards with rotating driver advisors.

    Qualifying – Teams that run in Q3 are given a one-off extra set of tyres of any compound of their choosing that will be taken back after the completion of the session.

    Ferrari – eliminate Ferrari’s special positioning within the Teams Agreement that allows them the potential to veto future rule changes due to their ‘Longest Standing Team’ status, as well as other benefits.

    In-season testing – Three in-season tests to take place throughout the season, but any driver who has entered in any grand prix event that same season is disqualified from participating in any in-season test.


    Ben Needham

    An interesting thread – I think there are a number of factors to consider.

    My main problem is the absurd rule about using both tyre compounds during the race. Why not make the tyre compounds closer, one that in theory can do 60% of the race flat out at 100% speeds and another that can do 80% of the race at, say, 95% speed. This would mean that drivers are almost always flat out, except perhaps drivers like Button who might try to eek out his harder tyre for the entire race without pitting. What a great contrast in strategy we would see!

    In terms of the two ‘gimics’; KERS and DRS, I actually like KERS. It’s fair to everyone (except Mark Webber!) and adds another strategic element lap by lap. DRS however is a complete farce, zones that are too long and punishing the lead car for being in front is just Mario Kart rules.

    I’d like to see better stewarding. If a driver strays past the white lines on the track and their lap time isn’t significantly worse than the previous one; penalise them. Qualifying or race. Also, accidents happen. Clearly Hamilton/Bottas yesterday was a racing incident, there was no need to apportion blame either way, there was no dangerous swing across the track. Let’s have some sense back in the stewards room.

    When under Safety Car conditions, don’t make the lapped cars unlap themselves! Simply drop them to the back of the pack, this creates one line of drivers in the correct order.

    So in short, my five rule changes are thus:
    1) Remove the ‘both compounds’ rule during the race
    2) Make the two compounds far closer together
    3) Remove DRS
    4) Wipe clean any cases of precedent from stewarding and start fresh
    5) Stop unlapping under the Safety Car



    1. Decent tyres instead of what Pirelli produced for the 2013 season.
    2. No more DRS.
    3. Limit aerodynamic downforce by severely narrowing and possibly getting rid of the entire front wing. Ground-effect instead. Also, more mechanical grip by making the cars wider as well as the tyres.
    4. More engine power. Combined with less downforce this will make cars harder to drive and with tyres not punishing the driver for attacking, this should really improve racing.
    5. Better distribution of wealth within the sport. All teams would be able to survive with ease and paydrivers would be no longer needed.



    1. Budget cap: the teams are spending too much money. Look at Lotus, they seem to be on the edge of bankruptcy due to what I can only imagine is overspending. A budget cap would also allow:
    2. Freeing up of the sporting regulations: allow testing (if there is a budget cap, teams would be free to divide their resources over wind tunnels, simulators, and on-track testing), and do away with virtually all tyre regulations. Do you want to put hard tyres on the rear, a medium on the right front and a super soft on the front left, and not come into the pits all race? Why not?!
    3. No more white-line penalties unless a driver cuts a chicane, but in general circuit design should ensure that there is no advantage to be gained by going off track.
    4. A business model of F1 where it is not prohibitively expensive for both circuits and fans to enjoy an F1 race.
    5. No more DRS; whether it is a necessary evil or not, it is quite clear that it is an evil. No overtaking is boring, but it should be tackled by car and circuit design.



    Just a thought: It is easy to say “let’s ban DRS and bring back the rock hard Bridgestones” but if you do that you’ll end up with Abu Dhabi 2010 at every race (unless the 2014 spec aero sorts out the ability of the cars to follow each other closely and makes overtaking a possibility) which I can assure you no one wants. So I’d suggest only binning one of DRS or the “made-to-degrade” Pirelli’s for 2014, but not both as three posters have already suggested.

    Nice topic, it’s good to see what “Formula F1 Fanatic” would look like. :)



    Some great ideas already about tyre rules, front wings & downforce, and no DRS or safety-car unlapping. Here’s a few others:

    No intermediate tyres. Just one “wet” based on current inters but able to shift a bit more water. No point flying all those wet tyres around the world if they’re only ever used in practice. If it’s too wet to race, show the red flag or don’t start. No endless laps behind the safety car.

    Testing on Mondays after selected GPs – also a reserve race-day for circuits at risk of delays due to wet climate or dodgy drainage.

    Make track limits “self-policing” (a phrase Mark Webber used about the Nurburgring at the German GP). Car-width strip of gravel, grass or similar unraceable surface between track and run-off area. No stupid astroturf or massive wide kerbs.

    Double-file restarts like Indycar. Current restarts are always disappointing.

    Race numbers you can see, and remember. Drivers choose an available number and keep it throughout their GP3, 2 & F1 career. It must be clearly visible on roll-hoop and rear wing, and appears on TV race-order captions. US and bike series get this, why doesn’t F1? Colour of camera or gloves(!) is no way to identify a driver.
    (and no, Seb, you can’t have ‘1’ – that’s for the reigning champion, and you’ll have to pick another in case someone eventually beats you!)



    @tomsk “Testing on Mondays after selected GPs – also a reserve race-day for circuits at risk of delays due to wet climate or dodgy drainage.”

    I think thats a brilliant idea, open testing (so no secret Maranello test camp for Ferrari) divided into a morning and afternoon session. I think this could work for the European races as I am sure the idea of flying people and parts all over the globe isn’t very appealing. It would also give the test days structure the FIA can police and fans could have access to.



    1. General technical regulations

    – Reduce wings, allow for ground effect
    – Increase the power output of the engines by quite a bit
    – Open up other avenues for development.
    – Get rid of DRS…

    2. Tyres

    Make tyres fatter, scrap the arbitrary rules and allow teams to run all tyre compounds on Friday, before having to select two for Saturday and Sunday.

    3. Practice sessions

    Reduce Friday practice sessions to 1h.

    4. Less tarmac run-off.

    Use a stripe of astro before tarmac in quick corners and gravel for slow-medium ones.

    5. Testing

    – Only be permitted to test with reserve drivers.
    – Tyre testing has to take place during one of the days of post-race testing with all teams.



    My top 5:

    1. Tyres: from degrading tyres to non-degrading tyres with much less grip (like in the sixtees ;)). Austin 2012 and Brazil 2013 ‘prove’ that races are much more entertaining when the grip levels are low.

    2. DeTilkefication of tracks that have distinctive layout flaws

    3. No DRS. Overtaking will be improved with point 1 and 2.

    4. Budget cap with massive reduction of overall costs

    5. More testing opportunities for young talents during or after GPs



    1. Tyres: no idea what to do with them really, if they are too good it will end up like 2009 with no overtakes.
    2. DRS modification: I think they should use DRS the way the use boost in some other series like Champ Car in mid noughties. So you can use DRS let’s say only 3 times per race and it with reduced distance on tracks like Shanghai where the area is too long. That should still keep away aphenomenon that was in the past called Trulli train.
    3. Same budget for all teams, no idea how to make it happen but then it would really be about which team is better rather than which team has more money.
    4. More young driver tests
    5. Less tarmac run-off areas, it’s better when it’s like how it was on 2008 British grand prix for example. Drivers who made mistakes got punished.


    bull mello

    1) Less Downforce, More Mechanical Grip – Less turbulence, easier following and passing should be the goal. Similar regs were nearly put into place for 2014 and scrapped, presumably, to keep DRS instead.
    2) Ban DRS – Since an expanded use of KERS is included with the new engine package it is doubtful we will see and end to it anytime soon. So keep the new KERS as a way to add more power for passing and abolish DRS. If cars are able to get closer, less turbulent air – see #1), KERS use can assist with passing. Even with the expanded use of KERS the driver still needs to budget its usage over a lap. (Much better than the push to pass use allowed so many times per race that has been used in other series.)
    3) Better Distribution Of Wealth – This is not a debate about how great Bernie may or may not be. This is about greed killing the show that the revenue is derived from. If all the teams get a bigger share of the wealth and it is distributed more fairly this will expand the talent base and abilities of the teams to provide a better show. Sponsored drivers are just fine. Paid drivers with lesser talent brought in to keep teams afloat and even to help pay the more talented drivers brings the talent level down and is detrimental to the show. Stop it! A better distribution of wealth for all teams on the grid will also reward the smaller teams like Marussia who have a great team spirit and accomplished great teams for a team at the back of the grid. Their reliability was better than many of the top teams. Maybe with more prize money they could add more speed to go along with that. Look at what Lotus has done with a smaller budget than the rich teams. And now they should be forced to take on a pay driver just to stay in business? That is criminal. Share the wealth F1!
    4) Tires – Keep the two compounds of tires. Make them hard and medium to soft. Don’t require the usage of both during a race. Do require that the race is started on the qualifying tire used, just like now. If a team wants to build their car to do better with a softer compound tire that degrades sooner and employ more pit stops, that is their choice. (Note – the tire should not degrade too quickly and yet provide for 2 to 3 stops per race. The hard tires should last for the entire race or maybe 1 stop.) With less downforce, more mechanical grip and a choice of developing cars for either hard or soft tires will provide for different strategies and more passing based on how teams and drivers choose to set up their cars.
    5) More In Season Testing – More wealth distribution will allow for more testing. (See #3) This will benefit all teams and provide more information/experience towards developing cars, testing tires and for young drivers.
    • Additional Note – No Refueling Ever! – Please. It is far too dangerous and totally unneeded. Ask any pit workers or drivers who have been burned during refueling about the dangers. There are so many other safer alternatives to improve the show rather than reintroducing an archaic practice that modern technology in F1 has made totally obsolete. Fuel saving engines are not going away and make refueling even less likely in F1. This is not NASCAR.



    Many of my points have already been stated by others: removal of DRS, more mechanical/less aerodynamic grip, and budget caps/distribution of winnings.

    My source is typically Autosport, but it’s amazing to see that CVC made $550 million (or so) in 2012 from F1, but clearly not enough of that is getting to the teams. While it only makes sense for stronger teams to get a bigger share, there needs to be enough for backmarker teams so that continuing in F1 is sustainable for them, as well as new entries in the future.

    The other thing, too, also brought up in Autosport today (or this past weekend) is the introduction of a 3-car-per-team system. Smaller teams would merge with larger teams (i.e. Caterham/Marussia would merge with one of the big teams… STR would essentially be absorbed into RBR) creating 8 teams fielding 3 cars each. Every team should be able to get in more advertising money since they have a whole other car to work on, 8 teams like this should be more financially sustainable (I’m not good with the finances/maths, so I’ll let someone else work that out), and hopefully that would mean the 8 teams get a larger share of winnings at the end of the season (Constructors’ payouts for 8 teams instead of 10).

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